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1984 in video games?

Posted: April 11th, 2019, 9:57 pm
by astrodomekid
For a while now, I've had a dream about reviewing video games on YouTube. And lately I can't seem to escape an idea that I think would make for some great content that most reviewers haven't really experimented with. If you watch a lot of Top 10 lists (a la WatchMojo) like I tend to, you've probably seen a few "Worst Games of the Year" lists, which usually seem to stick with the year that either just ended or is about to (at least the ones that I've seen). But what about covering some of the worst games released years ago, kinda like how music critics on the site like Todd in the Shadows have covered songs from the Billboard year-end charts? Of course, this would be a very challenging thing to do; whereas pop music has its own dedicated charting system to keep track of what came out during a certain timeframe, video games don't seem to have that luxury. Thus, it would take more involved research to try and pull something like this off. And I would like to try figuring out which games critics and players alike seemed to dislike; not just by doing some online research, but also maybe gathering some vintage gaming magazines, comparing critic scores, see which games scored the lowest, and of course playing the games for myself to form my own personal opinion. From the well-known disasters to the forgotten mishaps, from the obvious choices to the more surprising ones, from products of former trends to failed experiments, from consoles to computers and even portables, I think this would make for some very interesting material. And while I would like to cover games that came out in what I consider to be phenomenal years for the industry (off the top of my head, 1998 and 2004), I'm also curious to find out which years were not so great. The one example I can think of... is 1984.

From what I've looked at, this was a very strange year for gaming. For as much as people like to talk about the video game crash of 1983 and the industry's return to power starting with the launch of the NES in 1985, no one really seems to mention that little gray area in between, and I can kinda see why. Aside from a couple of future heavyweights like Tetris and 1942, there's not a lot of material here worth noting; not necessarily bad games, but more just stuff that seem to have fallen to the wayside of public memory (unless names like Cobra Command, Bomb Jack, and Circus Charlie ring any bells to ya). Then again, I could be wrong about this. After all, I wouldn't have been born for another decade. But I would like to see which games really got torn apart that year.

What are your thoughts on this? And what year(s) do you think was underwhelming?

Re: 1984 in video games?

Posted: April 12th, 2019, 2:37 am
by CaptainCruch
I don't agree. 1984 was an interesting year with the release of the Apple Macintosh. But also some classic video game franchises were released! But you have to extend your view to homecomputers, not just game consoles.
Then you see classic games such as Marble Madess, Elite, Karateka, The Ancient Art of War, Impossible Mission, Boulder Dash, King's Quest (set the standard for adventure games for years to come!), The Black Onyx (set the standard for JRPG's for years to come!)... Also, Nintendo's Punch-Out!! and Atari's Paperboy were released in the arcades...

Re: 1984 in video games?

Posted: April 12th, 2019, 3:05 am
by Retro STrife
I think you're 100% correct - 1984 was a weird year in gaming. In fact, starting from the release of the Atari 2600 to present day, I would say that 1984 was the worst year in the history of video games.

Admittedly, I don't base that on personal knowledge. However, there is an amazing series called "The Video Game Years", available on Youtube and Amazon Prime (for anyone who hasn't seen it, it is the greatest video game show ever made, so drop everything and go watch it already....): The Video Game Years chronicled the 1980s in gaming, with 10 episodes -- one episode per year. And without a doubt, 1984 was the weirdest episode. There was almost nothing for them to talk about during the hour-long show. While, say, 1981 or 1987 were loaded with content to talk about (to the point that important games got left out), the 1984 episode was grasping at straws just to come up with games to talk about.

Re: 1984 in video games?

Posted: April 12th, 2019, 7:54 pm
by VideoGameCritic
I agree! 1984 was a transition year, at least for me.

Consoles were kind of falling off the face of the earth, but computers like the Atari XL, Commodore, and other were really taking off. 1984 was the year I stopped buying Atari 2600 games (which were drying up) and started focusing on computer games. Unfortunately us computer gamers were doing more copying than buying!

Nintendo would bring the consoles back, but they were just getting their footing in 1984.

Re: 1984 in video games?

Posted: April 13th, 2019, 1:56 pm
by Stalvern
'84 was an excellent year for computer games. The Apple II had Karateka, Rescue Raiders, and Sundog. The C64 had Impossible Mission and Raid on Bungeling Bay. The Atari computers had Dropzone, Seven Cities of Gold, and VGC favorite Montezuma's Revenge. Across the pond, the ZX Spectrum had Lords of Midnight and Jet Set Willy. I'm just scratching the surface and mentioning the biggest names; dig deeper, and you'll find gems like Below the Root and Attack of the Mutant Camels (a piece of crap in its relatively well-known C64 version but a psychedelic masterpiece on the Atari).

And even the 2600 had classics like H.E.R.O. and Pitfall II.

Re: 1984 in video games?

Posted: April 15th, 2019, 9:55 am
by Retro STrife
1984 was a chance for computers to shine, and there were some good options in that regard. But still, I think it's the weakest year from 1980 to present.